International Journal of Exercise Science 10(3): 330-339, 2017. Although physical activity (PA) is associated with several health benefits, there is a marked decline during college years, which is an influential period for the development of health behaviors. This study examined the relationship of neighborhood and living environment with behavioral (PA and sedentary behavior) and fitness outcomes by sex. Participants were college students that participated in a fitness assessment, followed by a survey that measured self-reported exercise and perception of one’s environment (sidewalks, crime, traffic, access to PA resources in their neighborhood and/or apartment complex). Pearson correlations examined the relationship between behavioral (moderate and vigorous PA, sedentary behavior, active travel) and fitness outcomes (VO2max, percent body fat, body mass index, push-ups, curl-ups, blood lipids and glucose) with environmental measures separately by sex. Among participants (n=444; female=211, male n=234) environment was significantly related to PA and fitness, with noted differences by sex. For males, seeing others exercising in the neighborhood and in their apartment complex, using neighborhood bike lanes, crime and the number of PA resources at their apartment complex were associated with behavioral and fitness outcomes. Among females, sidewalks in the neighborhood, seeing others exercising, using neighborhood bike lanes and number of PA apartment complex resources were significantly correlated with fitness and behavioral outcomes. These findings suggest a possible relationship between students’ objectively measured fitness and their environment for PA. Future implications include the development of policies to create student housing that supports physical activity and expansion of campus wellness initiatives to off-campus locations.
Shaffer, Kaelah; Bopp, Melissa; Papalia, Zack; Sims, Dangaia; and Bopp, Christopher M.
"The Relationship of Living Environment with Behavioral and Fitness Outcomes by Sex: an Exploratory Study in College-aged Students,"
International Journal of Exercise Science: Vol. 10
3, Pages 330 - 339.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijes/vol10/iss3/3